When Texas Republicans succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood by cutting the women’s health group and other “affiliates of abortion providers” out of the Women’s Health Program, doctors and advocates warned that this would hurt health care for low-income women in the state. Without Planned Parenthood clinics in the Medicaid-funded health program, providers will have to take up to five times the number of patients they currently serve. More than 100,000 women will lose their access to preventive health care.
So far, at least 50 health clinics unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood have been forced to close. Now, Carla Hovela of Planned Parenthood of West Texas said the budget cuts are forcing another Planned Parenthood clinic to close in Abilene, Texas:
Holeva said having to close the Abilene facility is the result of cuts to a women’s health care program by Gov. Rick Perry.
Approximately 160,000 women across Texas have relied on the program’s funding, including about 1,500 annually at the Abilene center, Holeva said, noting the program provided pap smears, breast exams and birth control for participants.
“It (the program) has absolutely no connection to abortion,” Holeva said.
One day a month for the past few years, the clinic has provided medication abortions, but the practice was stopped last week. Women who seek abortion care or services like pap smears or STD testing will have to travel elsewhere. The clinic’s patient records will be transferred to Planned Parenthood West Texas’s San Angelo Health Center, which is almost 100 miles away.